Sports, Thursday, June 4th

Written by Nathan Bloechl on June 4, 2020

By: Nathan Bloechl — sports@kilj.com 

UNI Football Ranked #2 in Athlon Preseason Poll:

UNI Football was picked second in the Athlon Sports Preseason FCS Poll released by the media outlet Tuesday.

Defending national champion North Dakota State was picked first in the poll. Weber State, who the Panthers are scheduled to play on September 19 is third.

Five teams on the UNI schedule are ranked in the poll, including four in the top 10. All four teams in the top ten will make the trek to the UNI-Dome. Along with Weber State and North Dakota State (Sept. 26), Illinois State (Oct. 17) is ranked ninth and South Dakota State (Nov. 7) is ranked sixth.

UNI travels to Southern Illinois on Oct. 3 for a game against the 19th-ranked Salukis.

The Panthers are scheduled to kick off the season on Sept. 5 against Iowa on the road a Kinnick Stadium.

The timeline for the return of players to offseason workouts or practices has yet to be determined because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Smith Named to Preseason All-American Team:

UNI defensive end Elerson G. Smith was named to the Athlon Preseason All-American team released by the media outlet Wednesday.

Smith had a breakout season in 2019 tallying 14.0 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and set the school record with 14 quarterback hurries in a season. He also blocked a pair of field goals, had four pass breakups and five forced fumbles.

He closed the season out with 63 total tackles.

He earned first-team All-MVFC honors after an outstanding junior season that landed him in the top 10 for the Buck Buchanan Award final voting.

The MVFC tallied seven on the preseason All-American list, tied with the Big Sky with the most.

Iowa State Announces Non-Conference Basketball Schedule:

Iowa State has announced its men’s basketball non-conference schedule for the 2020-21 season.

The schedule features eight non-conference home games with the Big East versus Big 12 Battle and SEC versus Big 12 Challenge opponents and locations yet to be announced.

The season begins on Tuesday, Nov. 10 when the Cyclones host Kennesaw State. Iowa State will welcome Oregon State to Hilton Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 13.

The Cyclones will then play in the Emerald Coast Classic Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 in Niceville, Florida.

Iowa State, which won the 2015 Emerald Coast Classic, will play two of three possible opponents: Florida, Illinois and Oregon.

The bracket for the tournament will be announced at a later date.

The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series will be Thursday, Dec. 10 in Iowa City agains the Hawkeyes.

Cyclones Report First COVID-19 Case in Athletic Department:

The Iowa State Athletics Department announced Wednesday its first positive COVID-19 test result.

A part-time student worker notified the department over the weekend of a positive result and the athletics department staff member that worked closely with the student worker has been quarantined.

Contract tracing procedures related to the incident are also underway.

Additionally, four student-athletes from two different sports have experienced symptoms after being in close contact with individuals outside of the athletics department who have been infected by the virus.

Those student-athletes are also in quarantine and are awaiting test results.

As more student-athletes begin returning to campus in the coming weeks, the sports medicine staff is preaching proper hygiene practices, responsible behaviors outside of Iowa State facilities and the importance of mitigating risks for contacting COVID-19.

MLB Denies 114 Game Proposal, No Counter Offer:

It now seems all the more likely that this year will go on without baseball.

Yesterday Major League Baseball denied the Players’ Association’s 114-game proposal and did not submit a counter offer, putting the odds of a season in jeopardy.

The Players’ Association made their proposal Sunday, which upped the number of games from 82 to 114. Opening Day under their proposal was set to be June 30th, with the regular season ending October 31st.

MLB told the union it had no interest in extending the season into November, when it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the postseason and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue.

MLB’s proposal would slash player salaries by over 75% with some players making less than 23% of their contracts worth.

Players have undoubtedly been lukewarm on that idea, at best.

As the NBA and NHL near their resumption, baseball looks like it has to cross the Grand Canyon to find an agreement.